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Photograph by: Bruce Edwards
, Edmonton Journal EDMONTON - There are hard men intensely at work installing shiny new seats at Commonwealth Stadium, but the real construction site is the Edmonton Eskimos offensive line.
Opening day of the CFL club?? 2013 training camp found the offensive line being torn down and rebuilt on the fly, as it were, and with mighty big moving pieces, at that.
On a day the club announced the signings of nine new players, the list of newbies included three import offensive linemen: Johnny Culbreath, a six-foot-five, 322-pounder; Branden Curry, six-foot-six inches and michael kors purse cheap 320 pound michael kors purse cheap s of immovable object; and Cliff Louis, six-foot-eight and 315 pound michael kors purse cheap s of whup-ass.
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??he offensive line, over the last few years, has been given a pass,??said Ed Hervey, oversee michael kors purse cheap ing his first Eskimos training camp as the club?? general manager. ??e want the offensive line to step their play up, to a man.
??our offensive linemen are the biggest men on the team. We want them to be that.??
With the deletions Saturday of holdover linemen Kyle Koch, Joel Bell and Dale Stevenson, the Eskimos began camp with 13 big men determined to punch above their considerable weight.
The timing of the deletions and additions heightened the dramatic tension Hervey?? no-nonsense words cre michael kors purse cheap ated, but head coach Kavis Reed said the moves were not timed to send ominous messages.
Rather, it took a few days to complete the process of filing the michael kors purse cheap contracts of the incoming players with the CFL. And, Reed said, the club wanted to give Koch an opportunity to hook on somewhere else. Over the course of the last month, Hervey informed the other CFL clubs that Koch was available. There were no takers.
There are six returning players among the 13 linemen, but only two of those were starters last season.
The total dropped to 12 Sunday when six-foot-six, 320-pound veteran Orrin Thompson crashed to the stadium FieldTurf, where he lay prostrate for many painful minutes. Thompson later left Commonwealth Stadium on crutches with what?? believed to be a left leg injury.
With a pair of promising young quarterbacks in incumbent Matt Nichols and Mike Reilly, not to mention a cadre of talented receivers, led by Fred Stamps, and a versatile tailback in Hugh Charles, Hervey knows the Eskimos need a consistently dominant offensive line to succeed.
That starts at centre, where University of Alberta grad Gord Hinse enters camp pencilled in as the starter after spending much of the off-season working with Reilly and Nichols. Hinse started the final four regular-season games in 2011 at centre and played that position in the playoffs, also. A thumb injury that impeded his snapping kept Hinse out of action for all but three games last season.
??eah, it was shocking,??Hinse said. ??yle is a really good buddy of mine, and to everybody on the te